Belgrade, Nis, Edirne, & Istanbul

Belgrade hasn't at all changed since I was first there some seven months ago. I used to like the city and most people will - if you are only there for a weekend and stay at hotel Moskva. The city is overpopulated, small, and has nowhere to party for someone out of college (both in budget and mindset). We polled a large number of girls who all confirmed that the places to party are the four blocks in the city center, another street by the river, or river boats (each decrease in space, respectively). Oh, but to get to a river boat you must first got through a gypsy village (avoid driving over chickens) and make yourself a parking spot. I even ventured into a river boat to talk to someone who worked there, but stopped when a homeless man yelled at me to be quiet while he hand fed fed his six kittens. I apologized and left... I mean conceivably that's a better use for the boat then filling it with people and advertising it as party.

The best parts of Belgrade are really only hotel Moskva and the roasted chestnuts.1

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It's anyone's guess as to what's appealing about a sexy rabbit lamp and with legs like that I very much regret not begging for it.

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Do not be deceived, this is indeed real ice cream at the cafe in the hotel. I can't say enough wonderful things about hotel Moskva and this is despite them not letting us eat at the restaurant in our bathrobes.

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The adventure continues on to Nis, Serbia which I very much recommend visiting. The Emperor Constantine was born here (which is advertised on a sign on the highway) and the city holds other historical sites. The place looks like its been through enough shakedowns to be compared to Timisoara. However, unlike Timisoara they aren't too smart to dutifully maintain their history. You can also actually find a good few places for a repast.

Da skull tower.

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We should really bring back the phrase 'for the bones of the saints'.

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So we did stay an awful night in Sofia, Bulgaria. No pictures were taken and the city was as I imagine Bucharest to be. A decrepit capital built up by the idea that the place needed a capital city.

Crossing the border into a foggy Turkey felt like the long awaited promise land. The city of Edirne did not disappoint. The place was buzzing with vendors and friendly people pulling carts, tossing fish, and selling fruit. Dogs and cats roamed the streets freely on their own business and the fog finally cleared. It felt like being somewhere new as opposed to another European city with the same problems under a different name.

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The shops are so cute that they look goose sized.

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Take it from me that dogs in Turkey don't like lamb bones. I tried to give a few dogs a bone and they wouldn't even lift up their heads. I can only imagine what sort of decadent food these dogs get daily from the shopkeepers. You'll have to find another way to tip them for posing for your picture.

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On to Istanbul and to the baklava.2

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Leaving Istanbul so abruptly meant more than just saying goodbye to a city. The way out was filled with pain, confusion, and mistakes. I have to remember to not attach myself to the feeling of possibility that paved the road on the way in. Reality never matches the dreams that you carry with you. Even Newton died knowing that he wouldn't ever discover alchemy. If I ever again have the chance to return, may I be wiser, better, and more prepared for all that may come.

  1. I hate chestnuts but love delivering them. Not many things are more satisfying then searching at night for a vendor, finding one who had just put the nuts to the fire, buying all of them while a line of people form, and sprinting away after he gives you the last bag. You gotta run to ensure a hot delivery to your Master and it also leaves people confused with a story to tell. []
  2. I was addicted to baklava back in Chicago. My friend would make Turkish coffee and offer me baklava from one of the Turkish shops in the neighborhood. Turkish coffee takes a lot of concentration to make and she would often burn it as I distracted her by packing bong after bong. I feel nostalgic for those days and her. Living with her in Chicago introduced a whole world of imported food that I get to authentically taste now. []

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